Novel group VII histidine kinase HwHhk7B from the halophilic fungi Hortaea werneckii has a putative role in osmosensing.

Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Vrazov Trg 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Current Genetics (Impact Factor: 2.41). 07/2007; 51(6):393-405. DOI: 10.1007/s00294-007-0131-4
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Histidine kinases (HKs) are abundant among prokaryotes and have been characterized in fungi and plants, although not yet in animals. These enzymes regulate diverse processes, including adaptation to osmotic stress and virulence of plant and animal pathogens. Here, we report the cloning, characterization and phylogenetic analysis of HwHHK7A and HwHHK7B, HK genes from the fungi Hortaea werneckii, a proposed model system for studying salt tolerance in eukaryotes. The two HwHhk7 isoforms are 96.7% identical in amino-acid sequence and have a typical eukaryotic hybrid HK domain composition. On the bases of the conserved sequence of the H box, they are classified into the group VII ascomycete HKs. For the HwHhk7B protein, the autokinase activity was demonstrated in vitro. The salt-responsive expression of the HwHHK7 genes and the increased osmotolerance of a wild-type Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain expressing the HwHHK7B gene lead us to speculate that these newly identified HKs have roles in osmosensing.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Molecular studies of salt tolerance of eukaryotic microorganisms have until recently been limited to the baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and a few other moderately halotolerant yeast. Discovery of the extremely halotolerant and adaptable fungus Hortaea werneckii and the obligate halophile Wallemia ichthyophaga introduced two new model organisms into studies on the mechanisms of salt tolerance in eukaryotes. H. werneckii is unique in its adaptability to fluctuations in salt concentrations, as it can grow without NaCl as well as in the presence of up to 5 M NaCl. On the other hand, W. ichthyophaga requires at least 1.5 M NaCl for growth, but also grows in up to 5 M NaCl. Our studies have revealed the novel and intricate molecular mechanisms used by these fungi to combat high salt concentrations, which differ in many aspects between the extremely halotolerant H. werneckii and the halophilic W. ichthyophaga. Specifically, the high osmolarity glycerol signaling pathway that is important for sensing and responding to increased salt concentrations is here compared between H. werneckii and W. ichthyophaga. In both of these fungi, the key signaling components are conserved, but there are structural and regulation differences between these pathways in H. werneckii and W. ichthyophaga. We also address differences that have been revealed from analysis of their newly sequenced genomes. The most striking characteristics associated with H. werneckii are the large genetic redundancy, the expansion of genes encoding metal cation transporters, and a relatively recent whole genome duplication. In contrast, the genome of W. ichthyophaga is very compact, as only 4884 protein-coding genes are predicted, which cover almost three quarters of the sequence. Importantly, there has been a significant increase in their hydrophobins, cell-wall proteins that have multiple cellular functions.
    Frontiers in microbiology. 01/2014; 5:199.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Hortaea werneckii, ascomycetous yeast from the order Capnodiales, shows an exceptional adaptability to osmotically stressful conditions. To investigate this unusual phenotype we obtained a draft genomic sequence of a H. werneckii strain isolated from hypersaline water of solar saltern. Two of its most striking characteristics that may be associated with a halotolerant lifestyle are the large genetic redundancy and the expansion of genes encoding metal cation transporters. Although no sexual state of H. werneckii has yet been described, a mating locus with characteristics of heterothallic fungi was found. The total assembly size of the genome is 51.6 Mb, larger than most phylogenetically related fungi, coding for almost twice the usual number of predicted genes (23333). The genome appears to have experienced a relatively recent whole genome duplication, and contains two highly identical gene copies of almost every protein. This is consistent with some previous studies that reported increases in genomic DNA content triggered by exposure to salt stress. In hypersaline conditions transmembrane ion transport is of utmost importance. The analysis of predicted metal cation transporters showed that most types of transporters experienced several gene duplications at various points during their evolution. Consequently they are present in much higher numbers than expected. The resulting diversity of transporters presents interesting biotechnological opportunities for improvement of halotolerance of salt-sensitive species. The involvement of plasma P-type H(+) ATPases in adaptation to different concentrations of salt was indicated by their salt dependent transcription. This was not the case with vacuolar H(+) ATPases, which were transcribed constitutively. The availability of this genomic sequence is expected to promote the research of H. werneckii. Studying its extreme halotolerance will not only contribute to our understanding of life in hypersaline environments, but should also identify targets for improving the salt- and osmotolerance of economically important plants and microorganisms.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(8):e71328. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The production of host-selective toxins by the necrotrophic fungus Alternaria alternata is essential for the pathogenesis. A. alternata infection in citrus leaves induces rapid lipid peroxidation, accumulation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and cell death. The mechanisms by which A. alternata avoids killing by reactive oxygen species (ROS) after invasion have begun to be elucidated. The ability to coordinate of signaling pathways is essential for the detoxification of cellular stresses induced by ROS and for pathogenicity in A. alternata. A low level of H2O2, produced by the NADPH oxidase (NOX) complex, modulates ROS resistance and triggers conidiation partially via regulating the redox-responsive regulators (YAP1 and SKN7) and the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase (HOG1) mediated pathways, which subsequently regulate the genes required for the biosynthesis of siderophore, an iron-chelating compound. Siderophore-mediated iron acquisition plays a key role in ROS detoxification because of the requirement of iron for the activities of antioxidants (e.g., catalase and SOD). Fungal strains impaired for the ROS-detoxifying system severely reduce the virulence on susceptible citrus cultivars. This paper summarizes the current state of knowledge of signaling pathways associated with cellular responses to multidrugs, oxidative and osmotic stress, and fungicides, as well as the pathogenicity/virulence in the tangerine pathotype of A. alternata.
    Scientifica. 01/2012; 2012:635431.